HC Deb 31 October 1947 vol 443 cc1247-50
Mr. Osbert Peake

May I ask the Leader of the House if he has any announcement to make regarding the rearrangement of Business for next week.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

Yes, Sir. Following the exchanges which took place across the Floor of the House on the Business statement for next week, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House undertook to consider a rearrangement through the usual channels. The rearrangement has been made which the Government hope will meet the general convenience of the House. The suggested rearrangement is:

Monday, 3rd November—The Motion to annul the Control of Engagement Order will be considered until 9 o'clock; Consideration of Motions to approve the Cinematograph Film Orders.

Tuesday, 4th November—Consideration of the Third Report from the Select Committee on Procedure and the Government's proposed -Amendments of Standing Orders.

Wednesday, 5th November—Second Reading of the Burma Independence Bill.

Thursday, 6th November—Second Reading of the Overseas Resources Development Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Friday, 7th November—Second Reading of the Emergency Laws (Transitional Provisions) Bill and Committee stage of the necessary Money Resolution.

Perhaps I may add, in view of the comments that were made about the non-availability of copies of the Defence Regulations, that I collected 3I copies in my own office yesterday and sent them along to the House by six o'clock last night. One hundred further copies are being collected from other sources and will be available in the Vote Office today. I hope that this will meet with the convenience of hon. Members and I want sincerely to express my regret that hon. Members should have been placed at any inconvenience in considering the Measure.

Mr. Peake

Having myself procured one of the Home Secretary's 31 copies of the Defence Regulations this morning, I would only say that he is, of course, aware that the existing volume of Defence Regulations was last reprinted and published in February, 1946, and that very many of the Defence Regulations have since been amended or altered or cancelled, so that the existing volume is really very little guide to hon. and right hon. Members in ascertaining what are the existing Defence Regulations. Can the right hon. Gentleman hold out no hope that the reprint which has been promised for some time will be available before the Second Reading of the Bill next week?

Mr. Ede

Obviously this is a matter which to some extent would depend on the mechanics of the printing industry, and I cannot give any definite promise, but I will assure the House that I will do the very utmost that I can to help the House in the consideration of this Measure. I hope that the steps that were taken may be regarded as evidence of good faith in the matter.

Mr. Bowles

I tried to make a suggestion yesterday on this question. When I was practising, Messrs. Butterworth used to keep Defence Regulations and Statutory Rules and Orders up to date. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake) says the volume he looked up is only up to date until February, 1946. I do not know whether it was Messrs. Butterworth's edition or not. There are law lending libraries and I imagine that hon. Members on both sides of the House have friends in solicitors' offices from whom they might get the loan of these orders so that they can be up to date when these things are considered next week.

Mr. Janner

Might I make a suggestion? I appreciate the points raised by my hon. Friend, but he has overlooked the fact that it is not so easy to keep these publications up to date. So many rules and orders have been introduced that I suggest that my right hon. Friend should consider making up a list of the orders which affect Defence Regulations, in addition to those which appear in the present volume. That might help hon. Members who want to discuss the present position of the regulations, and enable them to put their finger upon the relevant orders. It would enable them to have some form of reference to these orders, which are not actually in one of the printed editions. It also might indicate which of those orders vary portions of the published volume.

Mr. E. P. Smith

I believe that the Lord Chancellor's office keeps up-to-date copies of the Defence Regulations. I would suggest to the Home Secretary that he might have a word with the Lord Chancellor, who might be good enough to let the Library of the House have an up-to-date copy.

Mr. Beechman

I would like to suggest that a list of the new orders as they come out be kept in a prominent position in the Library. It is impossible for hon. Members all to keep in touch with these orders. If my suggestion were adopted we should really have no excuse for not knowing of their existence.

Mr. Ede

I have listened to the suggestions that have been made by hon Members in various parts of the House. I will see that each of them is promptly and carefully considered. I will endeavour to carry out such of the suggestions as are feasible. In any other way that I can be advised, either by hon. Members or by persons in Government Departments, I will endeavour to minimise the inconvenience from which the House is at present suffering.

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